University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Graduate Students: Jillian Maxcy-Brown, Vivian Abungu, Serhat Gunaydin, Cameron McDonald, Mostafa Firouzjaei (all Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Alabama), Leslie Stahl (Biology, Univ. of Alabama), Elisa Mayerberger (Envrionmental Engineering, Lehigh University)
Undergraduates: Will Moseley, Andre Lirette, Amber Saffore, Cain Brakefield, Kali Nelson, Briana Madden, Sam Prather, Chloe Allen, Tucker Martin (all Environmental Engineering, Univ. of Alabama), Leilani Johnson (Environmental Science, Univ. of Alabama), Rose Davidson (Biology, Univ. of Alabama)
Our poster describes our planned activities and progress to date. Phase I focuses on installation of glass microscope slides with natural biofilm to capture Cryptosporidium oocysts as they move through sewage-impacted streams in rural Alabama, with installation in parallel of time-integrated sediment samplers that will collect sediment and sediment-associated fecal microbes. The presence of calcium ions has been shown to enhance attachment of Cryptosporidium to biofilms; therefore, we have designed a device to increase calcium concentrations in situ through dissolution of calcium tablets. These activities represent the first steps to establishing what we hope will be a multi-year and multi-project collaborative research effort to explore next generation approaches to surface water sampling. We hope to characterize the presence and impacts of Cryptosporidium in rural streams, assess the potential of in-situ surfaces engineered to capture pathogens as an alternative to conventional approaches to sampling for fecal contamination, explore possible paths toward using time-integrated sampling and emerging multiplex molecular methods to map, and develop improved methods that could be widely used to evaluate the safety of water sources for drinking and recreational use.